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The Metropolitan Opera is a vibrant home for the most creative and talented artists, including singers, conductors, composers, orchestra musicians, stage directors, designers, visual artists, choreographers, and dancers from around the world. Known as the venue for the world’s greatest voices, the Met has been under the musical direction of James Levine since 1976. Levine is credited with having created one of opera’s finest orchestras and choruses.
The Metropolitan Opera was founded in 1883. The first Metropolitan Opera House was built on Broadway and 39th Street by a group of wealthy businessmen who wanted their own opera house. In the company’s early years, the management changed course several times, first performing everything in Italian (even Carmen and Lohengrin), then everything in German (even Aida and Faust), before finally settling into a policy of performing most works in their original language, with some notable exceptions.
Almost from the beginning, it was clear that the opera house on 39th Street did not have adequate stage facilities. However, it was not until the Metropolitan Opera joined with other New York institutions in forming Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts that a new home became possible. The new Metropolitan Opera House, which opened at Lincoln Center in September of 1966, was equipped with the finest technical facilities.
Each season the Metropolitan stages more than two hundred opera performances in New York. More than 800,000 people attend the performances in the opera house during the season, and millions more experience the Met through advanced new media distribution initiatives and state-of-the-art technology.